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For Simple, Organized Clean up: Choose Thirty-One!

Now 2011 is gone, and 2012 is here. You’ve made you resolutions – maybe to be more organized for the New Year – and before you looms a discouraging, messy task: de-decorating.  It’s time to take down your Christmas tree and garlands and wreaths and lights.  Maybe your New Year’s Eve party banners are still hanging, maybe you’ve got one of those lawns with the elaborate Christmas scenes.  No matter how much or how little you put up for the holidays – now it’s time to take the decorations down.  Why not start 2012 organized?

Sort Before your Store!
“This year, I’ll organize my Christmas decorations when I put them up.”

Did you have to untangle lights and garlands and tinsel this year? Save yourself the hassle: organize your decorations as you put them away.  Take a Large Utility Tote and take down all the decorations in one area – do the kitchen, foyer, living room, dining room, etc separately.  Now, empty your Large Utility Tote into an Oversized Storage Bag. These great storage solutions zip closed, have a clear PVC window for holding a label, and fit into larger plastic storage bins to keep your decorations neatly sorted and together over the long year to come!

 

Ornament Organization Preparedness Suggestion (Oops!)

Let the kids help out!  Give them each a Littles Carry-All Caddy and have them take a specific kind or color ornament off the tree. This speeds up your clean up and keeps your ornament sorted! Be mindful of your ornaments though – for example, if you have a toddler and dozens of fragile, heirloom ornaments, maybe you should find another way he can help out. Later, sitting down with a Littles Carry-All Caddy full of ornaments as you carefully pack them back into their boxes or containers is a lot easier than taking one or two off the tree and trying to juggle them and the containers as you take them down – plus, this method can cut down on your post-holiday “oops!” moments when an ornament slips through your fingers or is accidentally knocked off the tree as its neighbor is removed.

Taming the Reindeer

If you have outdoors decorations, don’t lug them inside handful at a time or spent hours out in the cold trying to sort them into the various storage bins you have for them.  Take a Square Utility Tote outside with you, round up one or two items and take them into your garage to do your storage organizing out of the wind and weather.

If you’ve got a lot of decorations outside, consider using multiple Large Utility Totes & Tall Utility Bins.  Fill each tote or bin, take it back to the foyer or garage, and then get another. Once you’ve filled up all your totes, go inside, have a little cocoa to warm up, and start sorting what you’ve brought in.  This can break up your un-decorating and make a huge un-do-able job more like a series of small, manageable tasks. This method is especially helpful if your early January is busy as you can set a goal of filling and sorting one tote or bin every night after work or  add to ‘Filling & a Tote with Outside Christmas Decorations’ to your kids’ after-school chores.  If you have decorations that require adults or adult supervision to take down – like lights on your roof or up in tall trees – be sure to tackle those first as a family.

Be careful and safe when you’re climbing ladders or step-ladders outside or in!

 

Wrapping & Gift Storage

You might remember my Wrapping Station article before Christmas. Don’t just empty your wrapping supplies into a storage bin and forget them! You’ll have birthdays and anniversaries this year!  Refit your wrapping station with birthday, anniversary, and generic wrapping paper and put it away in a utility or storage closet.

Another of your resolutions might have been to buy gifts early this year.  Maybe you even found a few during the After-Christmas sales.  Have you ever hidden gifts thinking: “I’ll get my Christmas shopping done early! Of course I’ll remember putting them here!” And then find the gifts long after they were appropriate for their recipient? (Like buying a princess doll for your little girl and finding it in a storage bin the same year she gets her driver’s license.) Don’t do it this year! 

Use an Oversized Storage Bag to keep up with friends’ and more distant relatives’ gifts. You can easily label these long, wide bags and they have handles on the side. You can slide them high in your closet, but if your kids find it, they’ll know it’s presents for grandpa or Mrs. Baker down the street – your Santa Secret remains safe!

For hiding your kids gifts, you’ve got to be more subtle.  Big items – like bicycles and play sets – are difficult to hide for a long time, but for medium and small gifts, again the Oversized Storage Bag works great!  You can slide it under your bed or on your top pantry shelf with a misleading label like “Cook Book Literature” or “Miscellaneous Pot Lids.”

Here’s the secret to NOT MISPLACING the gifts your buy early! Right now, right this minute open your calendar (physical or electronic). Now write yourself a note for the beginning of November – “The Christmas Gifts I bought early are in the Thirty-One Bag in the top of my closet” – or wherever you store them.  Whatever storage you use for your gifts, write yourself a note and put it up inside the lid, “Update Location on Calendar” as a remind that if you move it, you need update the note in your calendar to know where it is come November.  Also, tag gifts as you get them – even if you don’t wrap them, put a label on them with the name and event like “Sarah’s Birthday” or “Jack – Christmas.”

Don’t forget to keep a list! No one wants to forget birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and Christmas presents! Put a list in your calendar of gifts to get – when you buy one of those gifts, put a check by it or write “In Box.”

 Start you New Year off right by getting organized and staying organized all year!

 

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